Bendigo Stadium application for 44 poker machines in The Wellington redevelopment is refused

UPDATE: Had the application to introduce 44 new electronic gaming machines into the city been approved, the EGM density would rise from 7.6 to 8.1 EGMs per 1000 people.

The state average of EGM density is currently at 5.6 per 1000 people.

In Bendigo, the average adult spends $575 per adult on gaming. That number is 5.8 per cent lower than the regional average ($610) and 3.9 per cent higher than the state average ($553).

Overall gaming expenditure in Bendigo has decreased by 15.31 per cent in the past five years.

In a witness statement, former Bendigo Stadium chief executive James Wallace said the redevelopment would have cost between $1.7 and $2 million.

It was to include an upgrade to the bistro facilities and layout, construction of a new outdoor dining and smoking area, a carpark expansion, relocation of a children’s playroom and the creation of a gaming room for the 44 new poker machines.

Plans for the new gaming room in The Wellington would have been discrete from other parts of the venue with frosted glass sliding doors to be installed.

A socio-economic impact impact statement from June said while the venue was not located in an area displaying significant socio-economic disadvantage, local areas within 5km do display such disadvantage.

California Gully, Eaglehawk and Bendigo were said to exhibit vulnerability to problem gambling.

“In considering the extent to which any new expenditure may give rise to problem gambling, the manner in which gaming is to be conducted at the premises is a relevant factor,” the report read.

It was noted that an application for new gaming premises has higher risks of problem gambling associated with it than an application for the approval of additional EGMs at an existing gaming venue.

EARLIER: The Bendigo Stadium’s application to redevelop The Wellington hotel in White Hills with 44 new poker machines has been refused.

File photo

File photo

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation handed down its decision on August 18.

In its decision the commission said the application required three elements to be satisfied – the authority to make an application, the suitability of the the premises and the “no net detriment” test.

The application only satisfied two of the three elements with the commission concluding there was likely to be a “small net negative social and economic impact” to the well-being of the community in the area where the hotel is located.

Community attitude was recognised in the decision with the commission finding an “overall negative community attitude to gaming and to the application”.

City of Greater Bendigo council provided the commission and the applicant with a written submission in opposition to the proposed plan.